Political Quirks - Wilders
Posts in the Wilders category.
Part of Politicians.
There will be general elections next March, and the dozen-plus-a-few Dutch parties are preparing for them. It’s time for another series of party profiles. We’ll go in order from small to large according to the August 2020 polls.
Today we’ll continue with the lower-class-based narrow-nationalist Islam-bashing PVV led by Geert Wilders.
Four weeks ago, on 6 May, it was fifteen years ago that Pim Fortuyn, the communist-turned-catholic, openly gay, flamboyant and luxury-loving elite newbie politician who essentially invented right-wing populism, was murdered a week before the 2002 elections. (His party went on to win 26 seats, but quickly fell apart without the leadership Fortuyn himself was supposed to bring. Wilders picked up the pieces in 2006.)
A wrap-up of this week. None of these points are terribly important, but they show that Dutch politics are returning to their stable, somewhat boring, default status after the highs of internationally-covered elections.
With less than two days to go before the election, here’s the state of the race, with a quick introduction for the benefit of those readers tuning in only now.
The election campaign remains curiously devoid of truly game-changing, or even very important, occurrences. It seems people are tired and want it to end, even if that means returning the most divided parliament in Dutch history.
Still, there’s some small fry.
Frankly, not a lot has happened this week, which is the penultimate one before the 15 March elections. Still, here are some recent developments; none of them game-changing, but they may be of interest to political observers.
Just in: in an interview with a German broadcaster, Wilders said that Pim Fortuyn was murdered by an Islamic radical. This is false, and Dutch Twitter is in a state of outrage — for once contra Wilders instead of pro.
In preparation for tonight’s first big TV debate, here are a few things that happened over the week. Also, a quick look forward to tonight's debate, and a remark on new elections in 2018.
The Dutch elections are on 15th of March, and in the current international political climate they could take on an importance that goes well beyond our national parliament. Pundits and commentators might (ab)use the results to make predictions on the upcoming French and German elections (which will take place in April/May and September, respectively). So let’s take a look at the current situation, starting on the right, where the action is.
With the nuclear summit out of the way Dutch politicians can again look inward and study the pleasant spectacle of Wilders’s PVV continuing to slide down. Yesterday, the Een Vandaag poll saw him drop seven seats to 20. My average is designed to filter out sudden movements, so there the PVV is still the largest party, but if tomorrow’s Politieke Barometer also sees a loss, it’s going to slip to second place.
When it rains, it pours. Wilders is getting himself into more and more problems. He denied having done anything wrong. Still, defections are continuing and the VVD now also turns away from the PVV.
Just before the local elections of Wednesday, at a party rally in Den Haag, Geert Wilders asked his audience whether they wanted more or less Moroccans in town. Unsurprisingly, the crowd shouted “Less! Less!” Answered Wilders: “We’ll arrange that.”
Updated a few hours after original publication with news of the PVV meltdown.
What initially seemed a (for him) pretty standard tactic seems to be blowing up in Wilders’s face,
The Dutch nine-to-twelve-party system is sometimes hard to understand for foreigners; especially when the small parties come into play. Therefore, just like in 2010, I’m running a mini-series that treats all eleven parties that stand a decent chance of winning seats. We’ll go from smallest to largest.
Today we’ll continue with extreme-right PVV, Geert Wilders’s party.
This is just in: Geert Wilders has left the consultations with VVD and CDA, and government is in danger. We’ll likely have new elections in September or so.
Before continuing I’d like to thank all Dutch politicians for waiting for my homecoming before doing anything really spectacular. I’ve been in the US for the past three weeks, and have had no time for updates, even though interesting things have happened in Dutch politics. But the main item, Wilders basically retreating from the coalition, happened only just now.
With the PvdA sucession becoming the hottest political topic I haven’t yet had the time to discuss another important shift: Wilders’s switch to attacking Eastern Europeans instead of Muslims.
Not that he suddenly loves Muslims, but right now he’s specifically targeting the Polish, Rumanian, Bulgarian, and other odd people from the fringes of civilisation (i.e. Eastern Europe) who come to the Netherlands to take away our jobs.
As I reported earlier the polls indicate that the SP is winning seats from the PVV. Geert Wilders is getting nervous and has opened the attack. Unfortunately for him, the SP is not the only danger.
So before it falls, let’s quickly describe the Rutte government now that it’s been in power for about a year and a half. The most important take-away for foreigners is that Geert Wilders does not sit in government. Instead he promised ... gedoogsteun.
We’ve run into a serious translation problem. I have found no directly equivalent English term for gedoogsteun. Still, some help from my Twitter followers unearthed the fact that both Canada and New Zealand have had a similar construct, but no specific name for it. Denmark, too, has made extensive use of gedoogsteun, but I don’t speak Danish and I doubt they translated their name for it into English.
Political custom dictates that just after the elections all party leaders deplore the fact that the forming of a stable coalition is so very very difficult. Usually that means that they can’t (easily) form the coalition of their choice, but in general they are able to find a reasonable option within two to three weeks (although the formal negotiations take longer).
Some minor points:
Yesterday the leaders of the eight largest parties debated on the economy. It was a tightly-led debate with a distinctly less weird format than usual, and it allowed all eight participants to shine a few times — or fail to do so, but that was their own fault.
Sunday I watched the first debate in this election cycle, and here’s my report. It was slated as a “prime minister debate,” and as a result only four party leaders participated: Cohen (PvdA), Balkenende (CDA), Rutte (VVD), and Wilders (PVV).
Where Wilders’s PVV has been a glowing example of disciplined behaviour until now, with no other PVV politician even hinting at criticism of party leader Wilders, during an interview last Sunday the second-best-known PVV MP, Hero Brinkman, called for more internal party democracy.
Peil.nl had published a new poll in which
respondents were asked for their wishes and expectations regarding coalitions and
prime ministers. There are a few nuggets in here.
It’s time to return to the local coalition negotiations in Rotterdam, Almere, and Den Haag.
All three are unusual in that a large right-wing party (Leefbaar Rotterdam and twice Wilders’s
PVV) challenges the might of the local PvdA.
Besides, monitoring these negotiations will be a useful practice run for June and July, when this
blog will mainly discuss the national coalition negotiations.
Today we close off with Den Haag.
This is just in: Wilders said that his proposed ban on Islamic headscarves in public buildings
is in fact negotiable. He’s clearly feeling the heat and is doing one major step back.
Some small fry from the past ten days that might be of interest to political observers:
This is just in: Wilders will not be traveling to the US to attend the premiere of a film
made about him, because the chairman of the funding foundation has made severe anti-gay remarks
in the past.
Oh my, the new Peil.nl poll
has landed two days early. I’ve added it to the polls page.
The timing is surprising, the content isn’t. Basically it confirms Thursday’s poll
in that the PvdA wins five seats, of which one comes from the right, two from D66, and one each
from GL and SP. The centre-left PvdA+CDA+D66 coalition does not yet have a majority in this poll,
but does win two seats.
The new Politieke Barometer
poll has landed, and I’ve added it to the polls page.
The PvdA won seven seats, and that’s really a lot for just one week.
Even in my dampened-down average the PvdA is now four seats larger than the CDA.
It’s clear that the appointment of Cohen has been an excellent move.
The Dutch nine-to-twelve-party system is sometimes hard to understand for foreigners;
especially when the small parties come into play. Therefore I’m running a mini-series
that treats all eleven parties that stand a decent chance of getting seats in the upcoming elections.
We’ll go from largest to smallest.
Today we’ll continue with Geert Wilders’s PVV. It is by far the longest party
profile I’ve written or will write.
I’ve been neglecting the recent polls a bit. Each week,
Peil.nl (Maurice de Hond)
and the Politieke Barometer
publish their ongoing general election polls (on Sunday and Thursday, respectively),
and this are obviously prime data sources for any Dutch political blog.
Reason I’ve been neglecting them is that I was working on a
polls and coalition overview, which is now finally
finished. In the future I can give a brief overview of every new poll and refer you
to this page for the details, as well as the poll trends.
The page also contains a coalition creation game, where you can try your
hand at forming a stable majority coalition, and find out why it takes so bloody long.
More details about several unfolding political stories: the prime-minister race,
Balkenende’s continuing stability problems, a PvdA+CDA coalition, new SP party
leader Roemer, and the local government negotiations in Almere and Rotterdam.
This is just in: Wilders is in the UK to once again try to show his “film” about the deplorable results of Islam in the House of Lords.
He was greeted by a demonstration of opponents, as well as by the cheers of about a hundred
members of the “English Defence League,” a group I’ve never heard of. His formal host is Lord Pearson.
I just wish foreigners would not meddle in our politics. It’s complicated enough without giving Wilders a Europe-wide forum for his message.
Any UK readers who can shed light on the EDL or Lord Pearson?
On Wednesday Dutch voted for their local councils, and the result is interesting. SP leader Kant resigns, Wilders’s PVV the largest party in one city, PvdA and CDA lose, D66 wins.
Before we continue, one housekeeping note: I will be away for the weekend, and there will be no updates to this blog. Publication will resume on Monday.
Some small fry that might be of interest to political observers:
Yesterday the leaders of CDA, PvdA, VVD, PVV, SP, and D66 debated each other on
TV, and continued on the Internet. I watched both so you don’t have to.
Some small fry that might be of interest to political observers:
Oh my, Peil.nl has published more
polls, and they consistently show that Bos’s gamble is still paying off.
Yesterday the first poll (PDF) since
the fall of government was released, and broadly speaking it shows that Bos’s gamble is
paying off — for now. The Dutch voters agree with him on both the policy and the politics
side, and the PvdA is gaining seats once more.
This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer,
in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve
foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.
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